When I was little, the mother of one of my classmates took a few of us on a trip to New York City. It was kind of an informal “field trip”. There were just three of us and we spent a great deal of time just “looking up”. She told us that we could see more architectural details by looking up at the rooftops of pre-war buildings in New York. To us it was something of a revelation. This was the 1970s. New York City was a far cry from the vibrant place it is today. The city was near bankruptcy and default was in the air. The crime rate was high and the city in general had a gray gritty veneer…threadbare would be another way to put it.
Only when we looked up, did we see the beauty of eras gone by. The architectural detail typical of the art nouveau era intermixed with art deco. It was astounding, the detail that could be seen even if almost every building we observed was in dire need of a power washing. In some was the grime had settled on the stone in such a way that it brought out the details, bringing them into sharper relief. I never really forgot that trip because it taught me to look beyond the surface to see what lies beneath.
Naturally Westchester was being built up during the same period. Although many were choosing city life, the train lines that service Westchester to this day were transporting commuters to Manhattan way back in the day when these buildings were being constructed. Everywhere in Westchester there are building and single-family homes from that same era. The architectural details of a bygone era reveal themselves whenever we take the time to notice them. All we have to do is just keep looking up.
This was a photo I shot one early evening during that magic hour before the sun goes down. It brought some wonderful detail into sharp relief. I was simply running some errands when the sun hit the building in a way that made me run for my camera bag….The shot was taken in Tarrytown NY.
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